New game, new rules

Alcatel-Lucent's Sr VP for Sales EMEA Enterprise, Tom Eggemerier

Alcatel-Lucent is a force to be reckoned within the enterprise space, says the company’s Sr VP for Sales EMEA Enterprise, Tom Eggemerier, in this free-wheeling chat with NWME.

NWME: Not many people think of Alcatel-Lucent as a serious enterprise player, and market share has been rather flat over the last couple of years…

I am going to disagree. In EMEA, we are number one in telephony, contact centre and three or four in data, depending upon whom you are talking to. From EMEA perspective, we have been growing 3-4 percent in voice in the last four years, 20 percent in data, which is more than the market growth and in the contact centre we have kept our lead. We have done an excellent job with engineering, and probably haven’t done a good job of marketing, hence your question. In EMEA, we have done over a billion dollars in the enterprise space.

NWME: You have been traditionally strong in voice but it’s been two years since you have made your Omni Switch announcement.

Truth is we have been gaining market share, mainly in three areas. Our installed voice base is enormous, and customers have been buying convergence solutions from us.  We have also won a number of large enterprises as a second source. In most large companies Cisco has been the standard and now they are looking for an alternative. You will see us getting more aggressive in the marketplace.

NWME: Do you really have the breadth in your portfolio to address customers’ demands?

We can go from edge to the core. We have a fairly comprehensive LAN switching portfolio and in the data centre space, our value proposition is port density, performance, and throughput, all at one fourth of the power consumption compared to competitors. While they have three layers of products, we have only two-layer, which is all about simplification of networks, making it easy and cheaper to manage.

NWME: How do you plan to compete against some of the leaders in the enterprise space? Will price/performance be your unique selling point?

Within EMEA, we have around 40-50 million voice lines installed, we have more than 10 million data ports and one million contact centre agents. We already have a trust relationship with these customers and we are now talking to them about our data portfolio. I have been talking to a customer recently and they were really surprised to find out we have a 10G data switch in our portfolio. We are a big player in the data centre space, and we are not 1000 different products. What we offer is a minimum of boxes that can cater to customers’ demands, and drive down cost of ownership.

NWME: Do you have a cloud computing strategy?

Cloud computing indeed is the latest buzzword, but in reality, it has been around for a while. It is all about being able to deliver solutions, be it telephony, contact centre, on premises or hosted or in a managed model. Customers shouldn’t really care about the mechanism by which these solutions are delivered. It is all about application fluent networks and a customer-centric approach.

NWME: What is the dynamic enterprise framework you have been talking about?

It is all about putting knowledge management, employees, customers and partners together on the same framework. The enterprise game is changing.  Consumers have a better experience with technology, not enterprises.  The way Unified Communications has been sold by vendor over the last five years is dead. It hasn’t really delivered the business value customers have wanted. I think we are now moving into the next layers, where you use some of the components of UC, be in for healthcare, transportation, education or hospitality, and make it all about conversation with the customers. How do you integrate technology to have the most effective conversation with your customer is the next level.


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